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Booking It: Vampires in the Lemon Grove

Michael Gaffney

February 28, 2013

Filed under Arts & Sciences

Although I knew she was recently a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in fiction for her novel Swamplandia!, I hesitated, at first, to read Karen Russell’s new collection of eight stories. This was mostly out of fear that a co...

Booking It: Home, by Tony Morrison

Michael Gaffney

February 13, 2013

Filed under Arts & Sciences

One of the many striking images in Toni Morrison’s slim but forceful novel, Home, involves three men playing scat and bebop in a small smoke-filled room. “Clearly,” the narrator writes, “there would be no musical end; the...

Booking It: Both Flesh and Not

Michael Gaffney

November 29, 2012

Filed under Arts & Sciences

Both Flesh and Not collects 15 of David Foster Wallace’s multiform nonfiction pieces, including essays and book reviews published between 1988 and 2007. Although most of these essays do not demand to be read in the same way...

All the World’s a Stage: As You Like It

Michael Gaffney

November 29, 2012

Filed under Arts & Sciences

Two major problems of rhetoric occur when a contemporary director chooses to put on a Shakespeare play. One problem concerns the comedy itself; what an audience found funny 400 years ago may fall flat today. But, surprisingly,...

Booking It: This Is How You Lose Her

Michael Gaffney

November 7, 2012

Filed under Arts & Sciences

This Is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz’s latest work of fiction since his widely-acclaimed, Pulizer-Prize-winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, consists of nine beautifully interrelated, confessional short stories. Th...

Booking It: Every Love Story is a Ghost Story

Michael Gaffney

October 25, 2012

Filed under Arts & Sciences

D.T. Max’s revealing and compelling biography of the writer David Foster Wallace comes at a time of surging popularity of Wallace’s writing and new academic analysis of his work. Wallace, tragically, ended his own life in...

Booking It: Libra

Michael Gaffney

October 10, 2012

Filed under Arts & Sciences

The occasion for this review of Don DeLillo’s historical tour de force Libra, first published in 1988, is its beautiful reprinting in the Penguin Ink series. In a wise attempt to make books worth purchasing, as opposed to the e...

Booking It: “Farther Away”

Michael Gaffney

September 26, 2012

Filed under Arts & Sciences

Jonathan Franzen’s new collection, Farther Away, gathers together 21 highly readable essays, originally published between 1998 and 2011. The essays cover a wide variety of topics — ranging from birds and the environment,...

Booking It: Stephen Greenblatt’s ‘The Swerve’

Michael Gaffney

September 17, 2012

Filed under Arts & Sciences

When Stephen Greenblatt was an undergrad at Yale University, he stopped by the local Co-op and, browsing through some unwanted and cheap books, he discovered a prose translation of Lucretius's two thousand year old poem, "On the...

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